TWIN LAKE, Mich. (WOOD) - Randy Herlein was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2009. The cancer would eventually cost him part of one of his legs, which doctors had to amputate in order to save him.
"They came into the room and said, 'Randy, we would like to save your leg, but we would rather save your life," Herlein, of Twin Lake, recalled.
Herlein said going through chemotherapy was more painful than the cancer, but that it takes a monster to kill a monster.
"One day, I don't think I even opened my eyes," he said. "The doctors were at the end of my bed talking about what was going on, and my family and friends were over on the side of the room. It was almost like I was at my own visitation for my funeral."
Herlein set a goal that one day he was going to walk to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back out.
But national parks like the one at the Grand Canyon are currently closed because of the partial federal government shutdown.
Herlein didn't let cancer get in his way. He hopes Congress won't stop him now.
"I'm about ready to cross the finish line and they won't let me," he said.
Herlein said he is making the walk for many more people than just himself.
His backpack is adorned with ribbons bearing the names of nearly 300 people. Each ribbon is for someone who lost his or her battle with cancer, a survivor, or a caregiver.
Information about the ribbons --
- They cost $10 apiece, with a portion needed to make the ribbon and the rest will be donated to the American Cancer Society.
- The ribbons will be embroidered with the person’s name. If the person is a cancer survivor like Herlein, the ribbon will contain the number of years since first being diagnosed. If that person has passed on, the ribbon will have “IMO” for In Memory Of on it. If you want to honor a caregiver, then the ribbon will say “IHO” for In Honor Of.
- Each ribbon will be assigned the color of the type of cancer related to each person.
If you would like to buy/donate a ribbon, then mail Herlein this information --
- Today's date
- The donor's name and address
- The donor's phone number and email
- The name of the patient or caregiver
- "In Memory Of" (IMO) or "In Honor Of" (IHO) or "In The Fight" (ITF)
- The type of cancer
- "Yes" or "No" if you want the ribbon returned
- How much money you want to donate
Herlein's address --
2057 Westlake Road
Twin Lake, MI. 49457
Once the Grand Canyon Cancer Walk is completed, the ribbons will be returned to the donor if they desire.
Herlein said after the cost of the ribbons, he has raised nearly $2,000.
"One of the neat things that happen with these ribbons is as I'm taking the donations or I'm putting ribbons on, I get to hear the stories of these people from family members from friends. These people mean the world to people that are donating," he said.
Herlein is set to make his hike Oct. 21 and said if the Grand Canyon is not open by then, he will hike somewhere else to bring encouragement to those fighting the battle with cancer.
Herlein's Facebook page
The American Cancer Society
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